THANKS A MILLION: Gympie Chamber of Commerce president Tony Goodman thanks business and political analyst Neil Glentworth for his help in re-setting the region's future, presenting him with a gift of Gympie region produce
THANKS A MILLION: Gympie Chamber of Commerce president Tony Goodman thanks business and political analyst Neil Glentworth for his help in re-setting the region's future, presenting him with a gift of Gympie region produce Arthur Gorrie

Political analyst: '$250m a year driving past Gympie's door'

"NOBODY'S going to help you Gympie," prominent business and political analyst Neil Glentworth said yesterday.

Mr Glentworth was guest speaker at a Gympie Chamber of Commerce breakfast at the Gympie RSL Club's Orchid Room.

He said the business sector would have to create its own destiny and could not rely on council, state or federal government support.

He pointed to $250 million of missed opportunity.

"You have heritage, hills, beaches. You have opportunities.

"I'm flabbergasted by the opportunities of this area.

"And you have quarter of a billion dollars driving past your door."

That figure was, he said, the value of the tourism spending which currently bypasses Gympie on its way to Fraser Island.

"That is money Gympie businesses are leaving on the table," he said.

"Fraser Island isn't in Gympie region, but who cares? It's main gateway, Rainbow Beach, is.

"I'm part of a group of people who go to Fraser Island often.

"When we were very well lubricated, at Fraser Island, I did my usual straw poll and asked people what would make them stay a night in Gympie on the way.

"All agreed that they would like to stop here, if there was a reason.

"Why would you get tyres in Brisbane if you could get a deal in Gympie.

"Gympie needs to be famous," he said - for new reasons.

He told an audience upwards of 110 business people and workers that businesses needed to help themselves, grasp opportunities and create a reason for people to come to Gympie.

"Nothing's going to help you Gympie, certainly not the government.

"Innovation and government are like oil and water," he said.

"The council only gathers four per cent of the tax take.

"The state government is hopeless at innovation and the federal governments takes money and drip feeds it to play political games.

"Next time you ask something of the council, if you have a planning application and want to go to the top of the in-tray, don't ask them for help, tell them about the jobs your plan will create," he said.

Mr Glentworth said Barcaldine councillors had laughed at him for years when he suggested the isolated outback town turn itself into the drone capital of the world.

"They have nothing but flat country and blue sky.

"When they finally did it last year, 150 people turned up, the main street was chocker, the motels were full. People came from Japan and from the Defence Department.

"This year they're expecting 300. There are new businesses, new jobs and new activity in town," he said.

what you said

Warren Polley

"WHAT town is this?" Chamber of Commerce breakfast speaker Neil Glentworth asked his audience at Gympie RSL Club yesterday, as he pointed at the projector screen,

"Derby, in Tasmania," Gympie transport operator Warren Polley said.

It was the right answer. Derby was a dying town with no opportunity, until business people got together at the pub and came up with a plan to turn the area's hills into mountain bike trails, transforming the dying town into a sporting hub.

Mr Polley, a cyclist, said Derby was now booming.

"Houses used to cost about $5000 there. Now you couldn't buy one for $300,000."

Julie Worth

MARY Valley business operator Julie Worth said Queenstown, New Zealand, had taken the same route and turned itself into "the activity tourism base for the Southern Hemisphere.

"These young active people are spending $1000 a day," she said.

"Queenstown is gridlocked. You can hardly drive down the street.

"That is its only problem," she said.

Outback Queensland had learned that lesson and was applying it to activity tourism.

"The grey nomads spend as little as they possibly can."

Ivan Jensen

IVAN Jensen of mobile seafood supplier Unreel Seafoods said council planning processes were too restrictive and inflexible for new style businesses like his.